Apprehension Is Growing In America’s LGBTQ Communities
The election has left many people across the LGBTQ community feeling anxious
On election night, anxiety and fear exponentially increased among transgender, LGBTQ, and other marginalized communities as the reality of Donald Trump’s presidency began to materialize. There was a spike in the number of people who reached out to hotlines the night of the election and the day after.
Steven Mendelsohn, spokesperson for LGBTQ support group The Trevor Project, revealed that calls to its suicide prevention hotline were more than double usual numbers.
An estimated 2,000 people reached out to the Crisis Text Line, a 24-hour text support line. Outreach was made mainly from the LGBTQ community and from people who had LGBTQ-identifying friends. Chief data scientist Bob Filbin said most of the concerns were about how Trump’s victory would affect policies at the state and federal level.
Between 1 and 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline received more than two and a half times the average volume of phone calls. “This was an extraordinary year by any stretch of the imagination,” said Director John Draper in a statement to The Washington Post.
According to co-founder and director of Trans Lifeline Greta Martela, “We had more calls during election night and the day after than in all of November last year.” Callers were concerned about healthcare access—many receive aid from the Affordable Care Act for hormone and psychiatric therapy—and their rights to changing gender identity.
Callers also sought reassurance or guidance about no longer being able to marry the person they love, communicated feelings of loneliness and isolation, and expressed desires of ending their lives.
Debi Jackson, owner and founder of Gender Inc., confirmed that there have been a few suicides and suicide attempts by trans youth, “After such a contentious election cycle, the results of the vote on Tuesday night left many people across the LGBTQ community (as well as other marginalized communities) feeling incredibly anxious leading to acts of self-harm and desperation, including a few suicides and multiple suicide attempts.”
The LGBTQ and transgender community are more prone to be targets of hate crimes compared to other marginalized groups. They are vulnerable and almost invisible communities whose fears fortified with the election of Trump. He has threatened to overturn marriage equality and he also supports the anti-LGBTQ First Amendment Defense Act and North Carolina’s anti-transgender House Bill 2 (HB2)—widely known as the “bathroom bill.” His running mate, Mike Pence, has advocated for conversion therapy, voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act—which prohibits discrimination on gender identity and sexual orientation—and passed a law in Indiana that could send someone applying for a same-sex marriage license to jail.
A Trump-Pence administration could mean a giant setback for much of the progress made for LGBTQ and transgender rights, acceptance, and visibility. The transgender and LGBTQ communities have been fighting a long and hard battle. It is time to stand in solidarity for communities whose rights are being threatened by the Trump administration.
Resources for those in need of support
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
24/7 call center for LGBT+ youth
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
24/7 call and text based services for anyone in need of support
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
24/7 services for trans people
Crisis Text Line: Text NAMI to 741-741
24/7 crisis support via text message for anyone in crisis